by Laurie Halse Anderson
"Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows that this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, cast out by friends and even hated by strangers. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. So she stops trying, stops talking. As retreats into her head, all the lies and hypocrisies of high school become magnified, leaving her with no desire to talk to anyone anyway. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was assaulted by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In this powerful novel, an utterly believeable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.
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